MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A proposed amendment that would give more direction in allowing prosecutors and judges to deny bond for violent offenders will be reintroduced in this year’s Alabama legislative session.
On Wednesday, State Representatives Chip Brown, R-Mobile, and Angela Harris, mother of Auburn murder victim Aniah Blanchard, announced the legislation during a press conference at the State House.
WATCH: State Representative Chip Brown and Angela Harris, mother of murder victim Aniah Blanchard, hold a press conference regarding a bill to deny bail to violent offenders
Brown said the bill was initially introduced during the last session, where it passed 92-3 in the House of Representatives. However, the bill stalled when it arrived in the Senate, something Brown attributed to time running out in the session.
According to Section 16 of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama currently requires that “all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not, in any case, be required.”
Brown’s bill, which is being pre-filed for the 2020 regular session, allows bail to be denied to those who place the public at risk with their release, and it amends the Constitution to read: ”If no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to the accused, the public, or both, ensure the presence of the accused at trial, or ensure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained without bail. Excessive bail shall not in any case be imposed or required.”
Harris said passing this amendment was “a must.”
“We have to have this law,” Harris said. “We have to do something to prevent violent offenders from being out there to commit crimes, to re-offend. It means everything to me and I know Aniah is looking down and she’s very proud for the people who are fighting and will fight for her and through this law, she can fight.”
Ibraheed Yazeed, who is currently being held on capital murder charges in the November death of Blanchard, was out on bond for several violent offenses including kidnapping and attempted murder when Blanchard was abducted. He was awarded bail despite more than a dozen prior charges, which included drug and robbery arrests.
Brown said the bill would also be carried over in the Senate through Sen. David Sessions.
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